Summary: This sermon is the First and Foundational sermon in the second half (Part 2) of the series, "Living the Life" which is based on the General Heading of the Natural and Spiritual work of the Holy Spirit.
The Natural and Spiritual
Work of the Holy Spirit
A Practical Doctrine on the Holy Spirit
Living the Life Sermon Series II
The Fruit of the Spirit
The Foundation Sermon
The Un-Forbidden Fruit!
July 16, 2006
Text: Galatians 5:13-26
Happy are those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread
or sit in the seat of scoffers.
Galatians 5:16, 22-23 (NRSV)
Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not
gratify the desires of the flesh…
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control.
As an introductory hymn for the Hebrew (Israelite) Hymnal the Hebrew writer writes the song, Psalm 1 as a warning and admonition. Admonishing the worshippers not to do what are forbidden, those things not pleasing in God’s sight. The Lyricist is especially advising the Israelites not to follow the lifestyles of wicked people, those who continually sin. He adds that they should not sit in the seat of judgment or act like arrogant judges. Here, this hymnist simply cautions and then informs the worshippers that the end result of doing such is the destruction of those who live wickedly.
“Contrarily”, the author comments, “Be like those who obey the law and are deemed righteous.” Those who aren’t living a forbidden life, doing or practicing forbidden actions. Thus, those who do not their end is destructive—death! Eating like Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit. To do so means death and a departure from God. However, those who live a lawful—law abiding life would prosper; in simple terms, be blessed by God.
I find how easy it is to follow our friends’ ways of living. Even believers are swayed quickly into thinking that the worldly life is exciting and fulfilling. We watch their nice cars and homes and their children attend the best school in the area. On the outset they seem to have a happy life—they have membership in the yacht club or part of the Lion’s Club, you know the elite groups. Again, from the outside or outer appearance they have a wonderful and joyous life.
We are so easily caught up in watching our friends or neighbors living a sinful lifestyle that soon we pick up their traits, we pick up their habits. But the Bible says those who live unholy shall fall like Adam and Eve our fore parents did and die in utter destruction! Hence, the author admonishes the law abiding citizens [of Israel], the worshippers of Yahweh not to follow their wicked ways. Rather, be holy and be planted by water; be nurtured, taught by God’s Law. For when trouble comes, the evil doers will surely blow away like chaff and wither. But, the Lord watches over the way of the righteous because they eat the nuggets of the Law.
Now we are Christians and we are on this side of grace. In effect, we are no longer nourished by the Law. The nuggets or fruit of the law we no longer eat. As redeemed—called out ones, we live solely by the Spirit; we are planted by the rivers of spiritual waters. That is to say, we drink and are nurtured by the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and the Giver of life. Thus the Apostle Paul says, “Live by the Spirit, [be fed by the Spirit] and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Do you see the connection here? The connection with Psalm 1 and Galatians 5:13-26? Under the Old Covenant, the Law was the means by which believers lived. Conversely, in our Gospel Covenant the Holy Spirit is the means, the avenue by which we live. Still the common thought of both is that the wicked perish. Moreover, the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Consequently, Paul, as he inscribes this letter lists what can be labeled as nuggets or fruit of the world and of Satan of which Paul actually names ‘works of the flesh’. These are fornication, sex before marriage; adultery, sex with someone other than your spouse—extramarital; filth, impure lewdness; sexual perversion; witchcraft—sorcery, roots, divination; contention, fighting; jealousy; anger; divisions; factions, believing whatever; drunkenness; and obscenity, riotous living.
In Paul’s argument these forbidden fruit lead to total wickedness which results in eternal loss of life and damnation to the soul. In fact, Paul spells out what the Psalmist says about wickedness and in essence says the Church cannot be lukewarm. [Break it down preacher]—well, we cannot live by the Spirit and still sneak away behind closed doors and practice sinful pleasures. In my terms, “we cannot taste and eat forbidden fruit—wickedness and at the same time live life in the Spirit. It is either one or the other but not both.” Jesus calls that ‘lukewarm-ness’.